Keeping a spot among the elite teams in the World Cup proper, the Nationals hope to roar on, make a competitive stand in the world joust and improve the country’s place in the world ranking.Gilas Pilipinas is not done with just qualifying for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.Gilas’ goal is to make it past the first round of play in China in September where the 32 qualified teams are divided into eight groups of four in the initial phase.
“We’re at No. 31 now (in the world ranking). What we want to see is for the Philippines to move a notch or two,” said Gilas patron Manny V. Pangilinan in a press conference after his lunch with the team where he gave the players and the coaching staff their incentive for accomplishing their mission in the just concluded FIBAWC qualifier.Pangilinan vowed continuing full support to the team, including a serious effort to gain the nod of the international basketball federation on Jordan Clarkson playing as a local for Team PHL.
“Everybody’s personal wish is Jordan to be part of the team in the World Cup. We’ll certainly do our best to persuade FIBA to allow Jordan in the cast. Probably the best approach is to do it quietly rather than raising the voice level.”“We’re committed to do our best to get Jordan join the team. But there’s no assurance, no guarantee that it would happen,” Pangilinan added.
But with or without Clarkson, the goal is to make it at least in the second round of the FIBA showpiece where the country’s flag is to be put alongside those of Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and Venezuela.
“We won one game in the last World Cup. We win two games this time, and we have a good chance to advance,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio.National coach Yeng Guiao is hoping for a favorable bracketing in the draw set March 16 in Shenzhen, one of the competition’s eight host cities.Pangilinan is enthusiastic about the possibility of Gilas being grouped with Team USA, but Guiao would rather have Team Phl in another group where it would have a truthful chance to pull upsets.The Gilas 14 in the FIBAWC final window could well be the top bets for the World Cup.